Happy hosting, Hamburg!

Each year, Hamburg residents use Airbnb to make ends meet, help pay their rent or mortgage, and share their great city with visitors from around the world.

As the population is growing faster than housing space is being created, the City of Hamburg needed to take action to ensure this beautiful city and its diverse neighborhoods remain affordable and available for everyone.

The City’s interests match up well with those of the the Airbnb community. Airbnb enables our hosts to rent out their unused space within their residences.

The City of Hamburg recently enacted a new law that is good news for everyone who uses Airbnb. The new law replaces an old housing bill that was created in 1982—long before anyone thought of the Internet, the Sharing Economy, or Airbnb—so change was long overdue.

Under the new law:

  • It is now entirely legal to use Airbnb to rent out a private room or to occasionally rent out your primary residence, and you do not need to take any action or apply for a license from the government.
  • If you are renting your secondary residence or several properties, you should request a license at the local administration of your district.

The new rules will help make the housing market in Hamburg stronger and allow the Airbnb community to continue to thrive. The law has been praised by city leaders and affordable-housing advocates for helping to strengthen the housing market and protect Hamburg residents.

By enabling residents to share their spaces on Airbnb, the City of Hamburg has embraced innovation and the Sharing Economy. We believe that this legislation will be a model for many other cities across Germany and Europe.

If you are an Airbnb host and would like more information about the new rules, please, contact your district housing protection officer:
Altona, Bergedorf, Eimsbüttel, Harburg, Hamburg Mitte, Hamburg Nord, Wandsbek.

And Hamburgers—we hope you continue to have a wonderful time hosting travelers from all over the world!


  1. PeterL. says:


    It must be precised: It’s illegal to rent out more than 50 % of the private home of the landlord. Never a entire appartment can be rented out.

    And in Hamburg the toruist and the landlord must always be aware of a controll by the officers. Officers can entre your room or appartment at ANY TIME and without any appointment. So be prepared to nighly controls of your lingerie drawer.

    Happy hosting ?

    Also: Tourists have to pay a bed tax for each bed and night:

    10 – 50 Euro daily rental fee: 1,00 Euro bed tax per guest and night( even babies)
    50 – 100 Euro daily rental fee 2,00 Euro bed tax per guest and night
    100 – 150 Euro daily rental fee: 3,00 Euro bed tax per guest and night

  2. It’s really hard to contact you…. as a hotelier, you have an ally in me… please see some of the comments I write on most articles about airbnb bans that pop up…. please contact me…

    I’ve tried to contact David Hantman several times, to no avail. I believe in airbnb as an integral part of every city’s tax revenue bases… it’s also a way to discourage over-building of hotels prior to major events such as a Super Bowl, World Cup, etc., etc.. this oversupply then drives down rates for an entire city for years afterwards, hurting all other hotels. Also, most people who use this service are not exclusively renting or leasing their homes at all… they’re using this as a method to help pay their mortgage, utilities, taxes, and insurance, and when these dollars come to individual hosts, the dollars often go to direct spending in local shops, restaurants, bars, and on cultural and sporting events. This helps to stave off foreclosures. Also, what happens in the case of just a room being used, not an entire home? Again, you’re dealing with issues of non-exclusive possessory rights and access in many, many cases. How does this differ from zipcar or other parts of our new “sharing economy”, where people can now share cars, tools, even baby clothing and strollers? Most cities and convention and visitor bureaus should love services like airbnb.com and vrbo.com and couchsurfing.com because when bidding on (and trying to retain) large conventions, major events, music festivals, comic-cons, super bowls, world cups, olympics, etc., etc…. a city can include the number of airbnb.com dwellings in addition to hotel rooms to increase the potential of winning bids to host these events. I think there’s another thing to talk about here… neighborhood impact – by bringing visitors to typically residential neighborhoods, you now have people who spend much more money per day in neighborhoods, supporting local businesses that often are starving for business during morning and afternoon hours, and decreasing crime through increased pedestrian traffic. There’s also the impact on property values… if you are earning $400/night for your condo just 10 nights a month, that’s $4,000… enough to justify and cover the payment on an $800,000 loan at today’s interest rates – compare that to a similar unit that might only earn $1250/mo on a 12-month lease and your property value plummets, as well as the values of all of your neighbors properties. Impact on employment: people could choose to use these services rather than entering the workplace, decreasing competition for jobs, opening jobs up for those who are seeking traditional employment and reducing the impact on social services and welfare. I could really go on and on, but no matter how you look at it, it’s a win-win-win-win situation for everyone… hotel lobbyists need to re-examine their efforts to quash the utilization of these services – first it should be a fundamental right of a property owner to do what they want, and second, it really does prevent the overbuilding that can have negative impacts on hotel revPAR for years after build-up for a large-scale event, or simply over-building for peak season demand, leaving hotels struggling off-season. Ah, another thing… if you’re in a single family neighborhood or condo building, you should be in favor of these services, even as a neighbor… what’s better, and which would you rather have: a homeowner who keeps their home spotless and free of trash, dirt, grime, insects, and pests, who keeps their home in magazine-quality condition, ready to be featured in an architectural or interior design magazine, and who cares about the appearance of their neighborhood and community and association…. or someone who just rents their place to tenants that you’re stuck with for 12 months, wants to keep costs as low as possible, neglects their property and lets their yards and units fall into disrepair? I know which one I’d rather have… but I think people are somewhat territorial and very unreasonable about it. However, with that said I have to ask: if you let a delivery driver, pizza man, repair man, pet sitter, housekeeper, contractor, gardener, or even a visiting long-lost friend or distant relative, or even friends of friends (complete strangers) for a holiday party or birthday party, then how is this any different at all. Just make sure you claim the income and pay the proper taxes…. sorry for the choppy reply, it’s just an issue I’m passionate about. I wish people would just be reasonable and realize that this would have a positive impact on everything from their own property values up to improving their entire city… or you could have hotels popping up everywhere and only filled in peak seasons and empty in off seasons, creating block after block after block of ‘feast or famine’ businesses that most locals would never want to go to….


    I believe the issue in NYC is that in Manhattan especially, many homes are left vacant as a pied de tierre for those who live elsewhere. I heard an estimate that between Memorial Day and Labor Day, some of the really expensive areas of Manhattan (aren’t they all) can have as much as 80% of the apartments/condos vacant… these people are elsewhere and were hiring brokers and aggressively competing against the hotel industry, which also sees occupancy rates lower in the summer months… NYC really peaks between Sept and Dec, when everyone is back in town and everyone is coming to town to experience NYC during the holidays. So the hotel lobby jumped right in and started having a fit…. in the long run, strategically, this is bad for everyone there. Think of it this way: if you lived in NYC and you splurged and your rent was a realistic $10K for a 2/2… and you didn’t have a car… you could airbnb just one bedroom part-time and cover all of your living expenses and not even have a job…. or you could airbnb your place at $750/night for the months of oct/nov/dec and travel the world, then just one bedroom part-time of the time the rest of the year… and pay all of your bills, and still not even have a job. It was something a lot of people were doing (and still are through craigslist and other pop-up sites)… and it is entirely possible. You could live in NYC, Paris, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, San Francisco…. get a *killer* house, and be unofficially “retired” if you are smart about it. By the lobby fighting this, NYC now has several dozen hotels under construction, which means several dozen buildings only built for outsiders, when the housing inventory could have been increased instead… in the long run, it’s a bad move for everyone – for locals, for the hotels, and for the city…


  3. Dear David,

    when the mail of Airbnb was sent to the host of Hamburg, I felt relieved at first. Unfortunately I had to stop renting out my apartment as neighbors felt disturbed and informed my landlord. He gave me a warning and asked me to stop all my knight-to-night hosting entirely. He risks my neighbours cut the rent, not only the fee. (that might have changed now) So then I looked over the new law and found, it was not precisely giving information, how often you are allowed to have guests in an apartment that is let out all at once. The loft character does not allow that as there are no walls. I cannot afford to be kicked out my flat, so I have to be careful now. So I called the specialist in Hamburg, a lady who works within the “Behörde“ and she said, that there are two different kind of rights. The fact, that the public right has become more flexible does not say that the laws of my special renting contracts are changed. So, all in all: I might not risk a high fee, but I still risk losing my flat. This is a pity, because I did love this airbnb thing and I was enjoying the success by it, too.
    I write, because people might be mislead by the mail saying, it is allowed. here there are two different forms of right active, and if one says No, it still is a risk for hosts with unfriendly neighbours and a whole apartment they rent out.
    I wish my fellow hosts do not get the trouble I had, so I wrote in, in case they have a landlord who is picky, too.

    Best regards from Biggi Fischer from Hamburg

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